This trip takes in four fantastic destinations in under 4 weeks! First you'll experience the cool and eclectic city of San Francisco; visit the infamous prison of Alcatraz and wander through Union Square.
Head to New Zealand for an 8-day self-drive in the 'Winterless North' of New Zealand including the beautiful Bay of Islands. Next up is a week of glorious sunshine in the South Pacific, visiting both Rarotonga & Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. Spend the days relaxing on idyllic beaches, snorkelling in crystal clear seas and lagoons and learning about the culture of this captivating country.
Finally, explore the exciting fast-paced city of Singapore. A real melting pot, Singapore is a blend of old-world and new architecture and a fantastic city for shopping, food and culture.
On arrival you'll be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Check-in, and after a quick refresh, take the rest of the day at your leisure, stroll the streets, or dine on the wharf.
Today is yours to explore the city. San Francisco is known for its cool and quirky vibe and iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge.
Wander through Union Square and grab a coffee whilst people-watching, visit Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Fishermans Wharf and make sure to take a walk to China Town, the largest Chinatown outside of Asia!
After breakfast, you’ll join your day tour of the city. Loop your way around the winding streets and pathways of San Francisco, exploring the natural and architectural beauty of this laidback city.
Later in the day head to Pier 33 and board your ferry to Alcatraz Island. Enjoy the 45 minute audio tour that escorts you passed the halls and cell blocks of the prison. Real inmates from Alcatraz’s glory days whisper rumours and stories into your ear as you stroll down the historic halls. Peering through the barred windows back to the city on the bay will have you questioning what life was really like for these inmates.
Today you'll be collected from your accommodation and transferred onto your flight.
On arrival in Auckland, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel, where you will check in for one night. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city – why not take a walk down to the harbour or head up the Sky Tower for views over Auckland? If you feel ready to dive straight into Maori culture, head to the Auckland Museum, where you’ll find the largest collection of ‘taonga’ (treasures) in the world, from small artefacts to full-size canoes and meeting houses.
This morning, you’ll pick up your rental car and make your way out of the city, heading north towards the Bay of Islands. On arrival, you’ll check into your hotel for two nights and spend the afternoon enjoying the waterfront town. Stretch out on the beach and, later, enjoy a seafood dinner by the shore at sunset.
Today is free for you to explore the area at your own pace. We’ve included a day pass to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where you can learn about Maori-British relations and the deal that changed the course of New Zealand’s history. In the afternoon, why not set out on the water? We can book you a cruise to the natural Hole in the Rock or arrange a trip for you to swim with dolphins. If you would like to add either of these experiences, just ask!
After breakfast, you'll head south towards the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. It’s a long driving day, but definitely worth the journey. Coromandel is composed of golden beaches backed by lush forests, making it perfect for a stopover on your way south. Two of the most popular areas are Hahei Beach, a curved stretch of sand ending at the arched Cathedral Cove, and Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own hole and bathe in the natural springs. It's a unique experience!
Leaving the Coromandel behind you, today you can visit Hobbiton, home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Wander amongst hillsides dotted with hobbit holes, where real vegetables grow in the plots, and even enjoy a pint of cider at The Green Dragon. It's a charming, unforgettable place.
Afterwards, drive onwards to Rotorua, where you’ll check into your hotel for two nights before heading out for an evening of Maori culture. Starting with a haka at the edge of the village, you will be welcomed in to experience Maori crafts and dancing. You'll even learn to do the haka yourselves! Finish the evening with a delicious hangi feast, cooked under the ground by the geothermal heat and enjoyed in the big hall alongside traditional Maori entertainment.
Today is yours to explore Rotorua and the surrounding area, but we’ve included entrance to Te Puia, a centre of Maori art with bags of geothermal activity on its grounds. Here, you can wait for the geyser to erupt and watch the bubbling mud pools before exploring the cultural centre, where you can see traditional Maori architecture and learn about their way of life. There is also a small exhibit where you can meet a brown kiwi, known to the Maori as the ‘hidden bird’ of Tanemahuta, god of the forest.
Afterwards, you can grab a 'steambox' lunch, cooked under the ground in a similar fashion to your dinner last night. As you have your rental car at your disposal, you could also venture out of Rotorua to visit Wai-o-tapu, home to bizarre, colourful thermal pools.
This morning, you’ll make your way back to Auckland. It's up to you whether you drive straight there or stop off along the way. On arrival, you’ll check into your hotel for one night and spend the rest of the day exploring the city. Why not make your way over to Devonport for a wonderful view back over the city or take the ferry to Waiheke Island, home to vineyards and sandy beaches. End your night by the harbour with a glass of New Zealand wine, toasting a wonderful trip through the North Island.
Today is your final day in New Zealand – drive over to the airport in time for your onward flight.
Board your flight for Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.
You'll be greeted at the airport in Rarotonga with a flower ei (necklace) to the sounds of Papa Jake on his ukulele.
Your transfer will take you to your accommodation, where you'll be checking in for the next 4 nights.
It’s time to sit back, relax and let your clock run to island time! The Cook Islanders are friendly folk – you’ll never be far from a smile.
The main town of Avarua is home to the island’s weekly market so if you are in town on a Saturday, make sure you get up early to experience it (from 7.30am-midday). The buses run all day every day, in two directions – clockwise or anti-clockwise – so you won’t get lost! Black pearls are famous here so see if you can pick up a bargain at one of the islands lovely pearl shops.
If shopping isn’t your thing how about hiring a small car, moped or even a bicycle to do a loop on the main road around the island?
There are plenty of lovely beaches to stop at – some better for swimming, others better for snorkelling. The Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve is protected and you can even do a practice dive if you’re not qualified! If you fancy a bit more action you can go kite surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or open water diving – plenty of options to keep water babies entertained.
There are several different ‘Island nights’ that occur too – these are a great way to experience the Polynesian culture through food, dance and music. Let us know if you would like us to include one in your trip!
It’s up to you how you want to spend today – but if you’ve had enough of the beach then why not join ‘Pa’ on one of his nature or cross island walks? A total character, Pa is famous in the Cooks for his beliefs in natural medicine. He can walk you around some of the interior forest and offer remedies to any ailment (rub chilli on a bite for example!) or he can take you on the cross island walk where you'll get spectacular views of the island from its peak and enjoy a swim in the cool waters of Wigmores Waterfall.
After breakfast you'll be transferred back to Rarotonga Airport for the short hop to Aitutaki (it’s just 45 minutes) – once you’ve landed in paradise you'll be met and transferred to your accommodation, where you’ll check-in for 3 nights.
The Aitutaki lagoon will be the highlight of your stay. We’ve included a lagoon cruise for you today and with any luck you’ll see George the resident turtle bobbing about at some point!
As well as stopping at snorkel sites around the lagoon you'll have a BBQ lunch and stop at two islets. Onefoot Island even gives passport stamps, and is proudly home to the only post office in the world based on an uninhabited island.
For your final day, drink it all in; the laid back lifestyle and the sparkling ocean, the lack of wifi and contact with the outside world – it’s a memory you'll surely treasure for years to come!
After checking out you'll fly back to Rarotonga for your onward flight to Singapore. If you’re not leaving until the evening your hotel will be able to offer a late check-out (at a supplement).
On arrival in Singapore you will be met and transferred to your hotel where you will check in for three nights.
The rest of the day is yours to relax at your hotel or head out and explore.
This morning you will be collected from your hotel and taken on a half day city tour. You will start the tour by driving round the Civic District, passing the Cricket Club, Parliament House, Supreme Court & City Hall. You will then visit Merlion Park and enjoy the views of Marina Bay. From there you will go to Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of Singapore’s oldest Buddhist-Taoist Temples before drivingt past China Town. You will get to visit local craftsmen and observe their work before visiting he National Orchid Garden located within the Botanical Gardens and finally heading over to Little India.
The rest of the day is at leisure.
Today is a free day. Why not visit Singapore Zoo and have breakfast with the orang-utans? Of if you are a keen shopper head over to Orchard Road to take advantage of some world class shopping opportunities!
You will be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport for your onward flight.
New Zealand is a year-round destination and there is always something to see and enjoy whatever time you decide to travel. High season runs from December to February (summer), prices will be at a premium at these times and availability limited so it is advisable to book in advance. March to April and September to November can be a great time to travel as the weather is fine and the crowds fewer. Low season is May to August (winter) for most of New Zealand, this is however the best time for skiing and so ski towns such as Queenstown will be at their busiest.
The Cook Islands are a great year round destination with temperatures ranging between 18c and 28c in the winter (October to May) and 21c to 29c in the summer (November to April). The Cooks has a pleasantly even climate year round with no real weather excesses, although it can rain often thanks to its high inland mountains. The best time of year to visit is around September/October when you will find warm temperatures and low humidity, also March/April when the weather is generally fine and sunny.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.
*Due to crossing of the International Dateline, this holiday spans 23 days however the itinerary lasts for 25 days*